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UK formally rejects Brexit transition period extension

The U.K. Friday (12 June) formally confirmed it will not seek an extension of the Brexit transition period beyond December 31, British Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said.

Gove spoke with European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič and EU negotiator Michel Barnier at the second meeting of the EU-U.K. Joint Committee on implementing the Withdrawal Agreement earlier Friday (12 June), where he reiterated Downing Street’s refusal.

The Joint Committee had to decide by the end of the month on whether to extend the status quo transition. However, there are no more meetings of the committee planned until September, meaning the EU takes the U.K.’s decision “as a definite conclusion of this discussion,” Šefčovič told journalists after the meeting.

“I have taken note of the position of the U.K. on this issue and have stated, as President Ursula von der Leyen did earlier, that the EU remains open to such an extension,” Šefčovič said. However, he added: “We take this decision as a definitive one.”

“In this context, we both agreed on accelerating the implementation of Withdrawal Agreement and to accelerate our work,” the EU vice president said.

However, despite rejecting an extension of the transition period, the U.K. said Friday (12 June) it will not be able to implement full post-Brexit border controls on goods entering from the EU until July 2021.

Boris Johnson’s government said it will have to introduce its new customs regime in three stages, starting January 1, after acknowledging businesses concerns that the pandemic has hampered companies’ preparations.


GSP: extension of transition period for the application of the REX system to 31/12/2020

On 5th June 2020, the Commission adopted Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/750 for extending the transition period for the application of the REX system in certain beneficiary countries of the Generalized System of Preferences.

There are 21 beneficiary countries of the GSP scheme, which have applied the REX system since January 2019 and are in the phase out period of Form A as origin certificate. Their initial deadline to phase out Form A is June 30, 2020. Due to difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, however, this process is facing delays.

The new Regulation provides for an extension of this deadline until 31 December 2020 on the condition that the countries concerned:

• Send a notification to the European Commission stating that the delay is clearly linked to the Covid-19 pandemic;

• Add to this notification a workplan on the steps planned to comply with the extended deadline.

The notification should be sent to DG TAXUD (TAXUD-UNIT-E5@ec.europa.eu) in writing by 15 July 2020 at the latest.

[European Commission]

Commission publishes report on EU-Chile negotiation round

As part of its transparency commitment, the European Commission today published the report summarizing progress made during the seventh round of negotiations for the modernization of the Trade part of the EU-Chile Association Agreement took place from 25 to 29 May.

There was good progress in a significant number of chapters, including parts of the services chapter, rules of origin, technical barriers to trade, good regulatory practices, public procurement, institutional provisions and some intellectual property rights (IPR) provisions. The useful progress in chapters on sanitary and phytosanitary issues (SPS), transparency, anticorruption and customs and trade facilitation have as a result that these chapters are now very well advanced.

There were also constructive discussions on financial services, investment, investment court system, geographical indications, trade in goods, state owned enterprises, subsidies, competition, trade and sustainable development, trade and gender, energy and raw materials. Considerable work is, however, still needed for these chapters.

The next round is scheduled for September (exact dates to be confirmed).

[European Commission]


Middle East

UPS and AUS join forces to support future entrepreneurs in the UAE

Global logistics leader UPS and the American University of Sharjah in the UAE, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote capacity building and knowledge sharing initiatives that support the future careers of female AUS students and alumni in the fields of entrepreneurship, supply chain management, e-commerce, customs, and global trade. The agreement, which is in line with the government’s vision to build a competitive knowledge economy, was signed by Jean-Francois Condamine, UPS President of Growth and Emerging Markets, and Professor Kevin Mitchell, Chancellor of AUS, during a special virtual signing ceremony, owing to the ongoing pandemic.

Empowering the younger generation and especially supporting the female entrepreneurs and leaders of tomorrow is a goal we share with the American University of Sharjah,” said Jean-Francois Condamine. “Through this partnership, UPS reaffirms its commitment to providing students and alumni with the guidance and the tools needed to advance their careers in logistics, entrepreneurship and supply chain management. This collaboration is another step in that direction and we look forward to empowering young talent by providing a platform for their growth and success.”

The partnership aims to place the university’s students and alumni in internships and career opportunities with UPS. In addition, it will also provide AUS faculty, students and alumni an opportunity to engage with the UPS Sustainability Program and UPS’s role as the Official Logistics Partner of Expo 2020 Dubai.

“AUS is committed to expanding career and professional development opportunities for students and alumni,” said Professor Mitchell. “The collaboration with UPS will allow access to the knowledge, skills and experience of an industry leader.”


Export-import operations at Saudi ports get a boost

The Saudi Company for Exchanging Digital Information (Tabadul), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani) announced Thursday the launch of the second phase of the Truck Management System through the FASAH platform.

The second phase, which marks the success achieved by the first phase of the Truck Management System that was unveiled in October 2019, will provide import and export services from the King Abdulaziz Port Dammam and will be applied successively in several other ports.

Exporters will be able to reserve appointments via the FASAH e-platform for pre-coordination of truck transit — a step aimed at providing better logistical services and raising the efficiency of operational ports.

“The launch of the second phase of the Truck Management System at King Abdulaziz Port Dammam follows the remarkable success of the first phase as the system intends to reduce time and effort by processing the electronically pre-issued customs clearance for trucks before they arrive at the port of export, a mandatory procedure for the issuing party,” Eng. Saad Alkhalb, president of Saudi Ports Authority, said.

The Truck Management System assists in organizing the truck flow procedures at the ports in order to speed up customs clearance, application of the mandatory pre-reservation of trucks, as well as reduce the waiting time of trucks, he noted.

[Saudi Gazette]

Saudi Arabia greenlights electric cars, chargers

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday (9 June) approved the commercial import of electric cars and chargers in accordance with the procedures set forth by relevant entities.

The Kingdom has been studying all the technical, economic, and environmental details of electric cars and their related infrastructure for a long time, governor of the Saudi Standards, Metrology, and Quality Organization (SASO), Saad Al Kasabi, said in a statement.

The organization is committed to foster ties with the private sector to further grow trade exchange with neighboring countries and create an attractive environment for foreign investments in line with the Saudi Vision 2030.

Al Kasabi further noted that the current work system, which includes government entities and specialists from the private sector, continues to study all sides so as to prepare the infrastructure to integrate this type of vehicles into the market.




Egypt, UK to sign free trade agreement after Brexit: Trade Minister

Egypt will soon sign a free trade agreement with the UK following the latter’s exit from the EU, commonly known as Brexit, according to Minister of Trade and Industry Nevine Gamea.

The Minister said that the past period witnessed intensive negotiations between the two countries to reach an agreement on free trade, which will soon be finalized.

The announcement came during a virtual conference, entitled “The Role of the Government in Supporting the Private Sector”, organized by the British Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) on Sunday (14 June).

Gamea said that as the UK considers Egypt the main gateway to Africa, her ministry was looking to obtain additional advantages especially concerning the export of crops.

According to government data, the UK has the third highest trade exchange among European countries with Egypt. The volume of trade exchanged between the two countries reached $2.5bn during the first 10 months of 2019, compared to $2.4bn during the same period in 2018.

[Daily News Egypt]